Even those who don’t consider themselves architecture buffs can easily recognize the impressive collection of Zaha Hadid buildings. Their iconic futuristic look stands out in ways that so many buildings don’t. They’re also quite environmentally conscious, which was non-negotiable to the late Hadid. Though some of the world’s most eye-catching buildings are more famous for their unique aesthetic than their commitment to the environment, some recently-debuted architectural masterpieces are turning heads for their impressive sustainability. In Australia, for instance, Kerstin Thompson Architects recently debuted a climate-first development at Bundanon, the 2,470-acre arts destination, that responds and adapts to potential climate disasters.
Thompson’s firm isn’t the only one with an eye on the changing environment. Zaha Hadid Architects’ most recent project—Beeah Group’s nearly 30,000-square-foot brand-new headquarters in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates—is a net-zero marvel that makes a serious case for sustainable design.
BEEAH Group, the local public-private partnership company whose primary focus is environmental conditions and waste management, enlisted the famed London-based firm to design their new headquarters. Zara Hadid Architects was tasked with creating a massive space that reflected the group’s ideals, and, nearly a decade after the firm signed onto the project, it has finally opened its doors. “Our design mirrors BEEAH Group’s focus on sustainability and technology, which has informed every aspect of the building, from the user experience to its efficient performance and conservation of resources, landscaping, and lighting design,” says Sara Sheikh Akbari, Zaha Hadid Architects’ project director of the Beeah headquarters. “We often explore the logic and coherence within the natural world when we are working to build new environments.”
And that inspiration is abundantly clear after just one glance at the new building, which looks like a man-made collection of interconnected dunes. That, of course, was the point. Akbari explains, “Prevailing winds have naturally shaped and carved the dunes of the surrounding desert landscape into concave surfaces and left ridges at their junctions with others that are convex.” And the Beeah headquarters echo the naturally occurring dunes that are scattered throughout the surrounding deserts. The unique ZHA design not only mimics the dunes in its look but also optimizes the area’s environmental conditions.